This post is to honour the one-year anniversary of the passing of Bill English, at age 91, on 26 July, 2020. English was Doug Engelbart’s right-hand man in the Mother of All Demos in 1968 and a key developer of the oN-Line System (NLS). The post below was initially part of a book I was writing about Engelbart. The book was eventually abandoned, but the memory of meeting English in 2014 remains. As does, I hope, the achievements of those SRI pioneers. RIP, Bill.
Read More The Time I Met Bill English
It may seem like Microsoft won the browser war in 1998 (despite a looming anti-trust case), but looking back it, was actually the year the web started to open up. It was when open source projects like Mozilla and open standards like DOM began to steer the web towards a more open, equitable future. It was also the year that a coalition of independent web developers arrived on the scene to promote open standards — The Web Standards Project (WaSP). All of these developments would impact the web’s direction for years to come.
Read More 1998: Open Season with Mozilla, W3C’s DOM, and WaSP
As it turned out, Microsoft’s vision for DHTML was more compelling from a technical perspective than Netscape’s (perhaps the first time that could be said about a web technology Microsoft pioneered — but it would not the last). What Microsoft wanted to achieve with DHTML was to make every element of an HTML document into a programmable object.
Read More 1997: The Year of DHTML
Read More 1995: PHP Quietly Launches as a CGI Scripts Toolset
Read More 1993: CGI Scripts and Early Server-Side Web Programming
After Microsoft upped the ante in the browser market in 1996 by integrating Internet Explorer 3.0 into Windows, Netscape began the new year with a renewed focus on the open web. Co-founder and CTO Marc Andreessen and the Netscape product team introduced a new strategy called “crossware.”
Read More 1997: Netscape Crossware vs the Windows Web
In March 1996, at Microsoft’s annual Professional Developers Conference (PDC), Bill Gates announced a set of internet technologies called ActiveX. “Part of the unique thing that Microsoft is doing,” he said regarding Microsoft’s approach to the Internet, “[…] is a strong level of integration into Windows.” It was the moment Netscape, Sun Microsystems, and other web-focused companies had feared — Microsoft was embedding the Internet into its powerful Windows ecosystem.
Read More 1996: Microsoft Activates the Internet With ActiveX & JScript
After the Mother Of All Demos in late 1968, solid progress was made in building out the oN-Line System (NLS) over 1969. In a 1970 “final report” by Engelbart and his staff at the Augmentation Research Center (ARC), the hardware and software of NLS developed over the past couple of years is outlined. The report states that “the configuration of the ARC computer facility has been relatively stable over the past two years,” but there “have been some peripheral additions, in particular the ARPA network interface and an external core system.”
Read More 1969: Building the oN-Line System
Read More 1996: Netscape Lays the Groundwork For Web Applications